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How can retailers use social analytics to thrive and grow in the era of “me-commerce?” The NetBase Retail Industry Best Practices Guide 2018 has the answers!

The tactics highlighted below will apply especially if you’re a brand or category owner growing your brand, a digital marketer working to increase engagement and optimize campaigns, or a customer experience/customer care team member looking for ways to improve your shopping experience. But the report has takeaways even for those in other industries and business units.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Standing out in a sea of options

Differentiation is the key to brand survival, and it’s something that must be considered at each stage of the consumer journey. The social analytics amassed through social listening offer clues to what delights consumers at every moment, from awareness to purchase to lifelong customer. Ignore these insights to your peril.

Meanwhile, for an example worth following, look to Bonobos. Across each stage of the customer journey we analyzed – consideration, evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase – they had one of the highest breakdowns across these stages in our report.

They’ve got people talking favorably during the purchase phase – 20% more than their closest competitor – and few people talking, i.e., complaining in the post-purchase phase. That’s where you want to be.

Why do people love them so much? We don’t want to give it all away, but a conscious choice to improve their in-store experience with personalized advice for the men shopping their brand is paying off – big time.

But is Bonobos bullet-proof? Is any brand. Of course not. There are chinks in the armor competitors could certainly exploit – but only if they’re using social analytics to uncover them. Use sentiment analysis to weigh audience opinion on topics like in-store pick-up, and an overly “preppy” sensibility and you might find a way to sway some Bonobos shoppers to your brand.

Anything that differentiates your brand can be leveraged to your advantage – even something as simple as having a brick-and-mortar storefront versus an e-commerce only presence. Read the full report to learn how Macy’s is using landmark locations smartly.

Optimizing influencer spend

Influencers are a hot commodity. With the right incentives, they do a lot of the work for you – but it’s important to choose wisely. Celebrity influencers are fantastic, but they can come across as the paid spokespeople they are if they’re too “big” – or don’t hit the right tone in their posts.

To maximize partnered engagements, you must know who is hitting the mark just right. Considerations here include:

  • All posts on influencer channels – not just brand posts – for an overall view of influence
  • The number of engagements per post – to understand following and reach
  • The number of engagements per 10K followers – to understand how much engagement their followers offer

Read the full report to see how Zara jumped 20 spots to #7 on our list by using social analytics to master influencer strategy.

A new approach to leveraging trends

When we talk about trends, we aren’t just talking about the latest viral craze – like Pokémon Go. Trends can be anything that overtakes consumer conversation over the short or the long term – and sometimes they’re simpler than you think.

It might seem absurd that changing the language around salad from “simple and healthy” to “bright and fresh” would make a difference. Yet, for one grocer, this small adjustment led to 20% higher open rates in their spring email campaign.

What social analytics do so well is connect brands to consumers’ hearts. The more data you have, the more specific the actions you can take. That’s why combining social insights with other data – like consumer reviews – is such a great idea.

The more you can hone in on localized, product-specific insights, the bigger the competitive edge you’ll have. It’s about uncovering the commonalities consumers are passionate about right now, and using that information to tweak your messaging. Sentiment analysis is your foot in the door here, as in most matters pertaining to social data.

A well-rounded customer experience

The better you know your audience, the better your offerings will delight them – and keep them coming back. Every area of your brand can apply these social best practices to their respective goals to achieve the big picture goal of defeating the competition and putting your brand on top.

That goes for retail brands – and brands and businesses in every industry. Analyze your audience, and put the data to work so consumers feel seen, heard and understood. If you do that they won’t be able to help loving you.

Download the report, NetBase Retail Industry Best Practices Guide 2018 today, or reach out to learn more about our social analytics tools. And review the social media ranking index – it offers a global brands leaderboard, comparing mentions, reach, awareness, and most importantly, how passionate consumers feel about each brand.

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